Apartment Prepping Mistakes to Avoid


 This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

I started this blog just a few months after I started my journey into preparing for emergencies.  Now that I’ve had a little bit of time trying things out, I thought I’d share some of our less than stellar results.  Hopefully you will avoid some of the mistakes that we’ve made.

  • Not keeping track of expiration dates.  I feel I have to keep reminding myself and others to keep track of those expiration dates.  I know these are not firm dates, and many items keep past the posted date.  However, some packaged foods really do not taste so good even when slightly past the date.  One example is the Dole Fruit Cups.  I tried eating one that was past the date.  I did not get sick but the stuff did not taste good– it had a waxy taste that is not there when the item is fresh.   At best, you will end up with off-tasting food, but it could be worse.  Take a sharpie and rewrite the date where it is visible and keep rotating those packages!
  • Not keeping a good inventory of items.   Storing stuff in an apartment is challenging and many times, we are forced to stash things in different spots around the unit.  When supplies are stored separately, it is easy to lose track of what you have.   You may not find your emergency items when you most need them most.  You may forget you already have an item and wind up buying multiples.  It’s good to have redundancy, but not if you lost track of what you have.  Keep a written inventory of what you have including their locations.
  • Not storing enough water.  Because of space constraints, many apartment dwellers may neglect storing enough water for everyone in the household including pets.  I know it is difficult but it is possible- consider stackable Water Bricks   The Water Bob is also one I keep for emergencies-as soon as a hurricane warning is issued, we fill up the tub.  Don’t store water in flimsy containers, including 2.5 gallon bottled water jugs.  I’ve already had an accident with a water jug once, and nearly flooded my closet another time.   Don’t make these same mistakes.  Store water in disinfected soda bottles as they are more sturdy, or those new BPA free plastic containers.
  • Buying equipment without checking if you have room.  I’ve received email from readers who bought big ticket items such as generators without checking where they would store it, or even if their building allows these items.  Similarly, I’ve seen neighbors bringing a big barbecue grill then finding out our lease does not allow grills due to fire hazard rules.  Read your lease before making large purchases and decide in advance where you would store things before buying them.
  • Taking security for granted.  Many rentals are considered “security apartments” and many tenants take this for granted.  I see many of my neighbors leaving their garage doors open all day; or being very obvious when they are going on vacation.  One security failure for preppers is having deliveries of items in labeled and highly visible boxes.  In our building, the deliveries are made at the leasing offices, so it gets very obvious who’s getting new stuff.  When ordering, find out from customer service what type of boxes will be delivered and keep track of your delivery dates.
  • Keeping supplies out in plain view.  A couple of issues about apartment living is the proximity of everyone around, and the access various people have to your living space.  Keep your blinds closed so that no one passing by your window can peak and see all the goodies you have around.  Be selective about whom you grant access to your unit.  Some are unavoidable such as when you have maintenance issues, but some can be avoided.  Our apartment has a pest control crew and I have denied them access in the past.

We’ve all had those “I sure wish I had known better” moments.   All we can do is continue to learn.  Hopefully these tips will keep you from making the same mistakes.

© Apartment Prepper 2015

Monday Musings 5/11/2015: Because You Can Never have Enough Water

Monday Musings 05112015 Because You Can Never Have Enough Water

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links about all things preparedness, as well as updates on the blog.

First the blog updates…

Re-evaluating our emergency supplies  This week we are checking all our emergency supplies, and getting ready for hurricane season which starts June 1st.  Finding all sorts of interesting things, and I will post about them in a later article.

Adding to our water preps  The biggest thing we did this week was add the Camelback hydration reservoir packs to the bug out backpacks.  The backpacks have a compartment for water reservoir packs, and the opening for the hose attachment.  We had planned to supplement our water from last summer’s off-grid adventure  where we learned you’d best stock up on water while you can.

We also ordered a 3-pack of the Berkey Sport Bottles from The Berkey Guy  I’d take these with me wherever I go, and keep one at work as well.

This week’s giveaway  Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for The Survival Savvy Family by Julie Sczerbinski.  There are lots of ways to enter, all of them easy!

Now for the links…

How to Start Prepping in 3 Easy Steps

Manna from Motorists: 8 Roadkill Rules to Follow Before You Swallow

EMP Survival & The First 15 Things You Must Do Immediately After an EMP

Guns for Gals: Recommendations from a Green Beret

Preparing for Home Invasion

Do You have a Second Stream of Income?

Clothing you NEED to be prepared

85 Uses for Baking Soda and How it Could Save Your Life

Take care and have a great week everyone!

The Survival Savvy Family: Book Review and Giveaway

The Survival Savvy Family

I had the opportunity to read The Survival Savvy Family by Julie Sczerbinski.  Julie is  the creator of the blog, Home Ready Home.com which helps average families become more knowledgeable about survival and self-reliance.

The book covers the various aspects of preparedness, such as creating a family emergency plan, getting ready for natural disasters, financial readiness, first aid, fire safety and much more. I like that the author also goes a step further by discussing issues that concern many families such as cyber-bullying, keeping kids safe from online predators, dealing with emergencies during vacations etc. In short, the book covers topics that are not normally discussed in a typical survival book, but can help families avoid everyday disasters.

The Survival Savvy Family is an ideal book for a Dad or Mom who wants to become more prepared for disasters, whether large or small. It will get you started in an organized fashion, offering lots of checklists and quick tips. The book is practical, and detail-oriented. It conveys its message about the need to be prepared without being overwhelming, and without spreading any doomsday apocalypse fears. You will like reading The Survival Savvy Family: it is written in a conversational tone, has an attractive cover and is well organized. Families with children would greatly benefit from this book. This book would also make a great gift for Mother’s Day!

Now for the giveaway…  One lucky winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to win a copy of The Survival Savvy Family.  We’ve made it as easy as possible to enter, with lots of opportunities to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Take control of your financial future!


Disclosure: This is a professional review site that sometimes receives free merchandise from the companies whose products we review and recommend. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own. Apartmentprepper.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

Beware the IRS Phone Scam

Beware the IRS Phone Scam

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

I had a different post scheduled, but I thought I’d write about this instead, as this actually happened to me today.

I got a call on my cell phone from an unrecognized number.  The caller left a voicemail message.  I listened to the message and it was an automated voice, which said:

“Hello, this is Officer Nikki Smith calling from the IRS.  It is important that you get in touch with us immediately as we have an urgent matter we need to discuss with you.  Do not ignore this message.  It is important we speak with you as soon as possible.”

Sure, the message got my attention, but I did not call back.  I thought to myself, I filed my taxes early and the tax return was accepted.  I figured if the IRS had any issues, they always send something in writing and would not call my cell phone.  So I did a bit of research and found out that this is a huge scam and thousands of people have been victimized.  The call sounds extremely urgent and many people assume it’s truly the IRS calling.  The scammers demand some kind of payment and the frightened call recipient pays right away.

How to tell the call is fake

According to the IRS scam alert notice, the IRS will NEVER do any of the following:

  1. Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill
  2. Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe
  3. Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card
  4. Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone
  5. Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

If you get such as call, hang up immediately and report it.  For more information visit Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts.

© Apartment Prepper 2015

Monday Musings: Berkey Water Filter for Everyday Use

Berkey Water Filter for Daily Use

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links about all things preparedness, as well as updates on the blog.

First the blog updates…

Who won the SunJack Lightstick?  Joseph won the Sunjack Lightstick Giveaway.   The giveaway question was:   On a scale of 1 to 5, how prepared are you for a power outage lasting several hours?  What backup lighting do you have?  His response was:

I think my wife and I would rank at about 2.5. We have flash-lights (solar-powered ones & also extra batteries), candles, and glow-sticks, but nothing like a generator or oil lamps. We get by pretty well though.

Thanks to everyone who entered.  We have another giveaway planned this Friday, so stop by and enter!

Why I started using my Berkey Water Filter everyday  Originally, we had purchased the Berkey for emergencies only, but it turned out to be great for everyday use instead of buying bottled water.

The water coming out of our tap looks brownish/greenish, and the taste was unpleasant with a strong chlorine aftertaste.  The property management said it was not their issue; their pipes were fine, the Water District has control over water quality.  After speaking with some of the neighbors, I learned this was a common complaint:  the water coming out of their tap contains a lot of sediment and tends to be murky.  Instead of buying bottled water, we decided to use our Berkey Light Water Filter.  It has worked out just fine.  Since it is used daily, the filters occasionally get covered with rust colored sediment.  When needed, I scrub the filters with a green scrubber (such as Scotch Brite), and wash the containers thoroughly in water (do not use hot water to avoid damaging the filters).   The set of Black Berkey Elements still going strong after two years of constant use.  I use filtered water for drinking and cooking.

A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who donated  Thank you very much for donating to Apartment Prepper!  We’re renewing our domain name and hosting and this was a big help.  If you would like to help, please donate any amount via our Paypal button on the right side bar.   Thanks for helping keep Apartment Prepper free for everyone!

Now for the links…

Major US Retailers are Closing More than 6,000 Stores

22 Things to Keep in Your Car

Posting Pictures Online

How to Make Creamy Vanilla Yogurt

How I Eliminated Shingles Naturally without Rx Meds

100 Things to Do During Screen Free Week

A Throwaway Generation & The Impact on Faith!

More Crime Prevention Tips from a Veteran Cop

Take care and have a great week everyone!

© Apartment Prepper 2015

Worried You Haven’t Prepared Enough?

Worried You Haven't Prepared Enough

Lately there has been a lot of bad news from all over the world:  large scale natural disasters, economic turmoil, terrorism fears, rioting in the cities, you name it, lots of worrisome things are going on.  If you have started preparing, but fear you have not done enough, your are not alone.

Here are my suggestions to help you along:

1.  If you haven’t started already, start your family’s emergency preparedness plan.  Read Getting Started for a quick run through of things you can do NOW.  Get your partner involved in preparedness; if they are unsupported, here are some ideas.

2.  Refrain from discussing these fears in front of the children-they do not need to be burdened with these worries.  Kids are like sponges and they pick up on negative emotions.  They also hear everything even though we don’t think they are listening.  They can be involved in preparedness activities, if structured in a learning and fun atmosphere.

3.  Face your fears:  Make a list of all your fears and evaluate which ones are most likely to happen, and which ones have a pretty low chance of occurring.  Do what you can to prepare for the most likely events.  Most Americans fear an economic collapse and how it could affect them, and so far this seems to be the biggest threat.  So deal with it by taking steps to improve your finances, such as tip #4 and #5.

5.  Start your emergency fund.   We really don’t know how the economy will do this year, it could get better, worse or stay in the same doldrums.  It doesn’t hurt to have some savings set aside.  If you feel you are too broke to save, see #5.

5.  Cut down on expenses now.  Everyone can find some “fat” that can be cut out of the budget, whether it’s a rich cell phone plan, premium cable channels, magazine subscriptions you never read, etc.

6.  Get healthier.   Being sick is a disaster in itself and nothing is worse than being in a disaster if you are feeling poorly as well.   If you are not feeling your best, take some steps to improve your health.  Get into shape, start a healthy eating plan, get your annual checkup.

7.   Become a bit more self sufficient by being less reliant on outside sources.  I know families that eat every meal outside.  In a disaster, McDonald’s won’t be open and families that rely of fast food for every meal can starve.  I am not asking you to become a gourmet cook overnight.  Little steps can mean a lot.  If you eat out a lot, start learning how to make meals from home.  Take baby steps-brew your own coffee, make muffins for breakfast, make a pot of soup for dinner.

8.  Learning a new survival skill does not cost any money but will help you feel a lot more confident about your chances of surviving or even thriving during hard times.   Start with simple things around your house:  learn how to turn off the main electrical switch, how to shut off the plumbing or how to empty out your water heater.   Learn how to change a tire or replace the oil in your car.  There are not “hard core” survival skills, they are practical skills you can use all the time.   You may even enjoy learning something new.

9.  Stop watching all the doom and gloom TV specials.  Filling your mind with a constant barrage of scary predictions will only scare you, and depress you into inaction.   I am not telling you to bury your head in the sand either.  Accept that these worries exist but quit feeding them.  I know because I have been a worry-wort myself.  Ever since I started my preparedness journey, I’ve actually started worrying a lot less.  Taking positive steps will do a lot more for you than being mired in worry.

10.  Realize that being prepared is a mindset.  For all we know, things will stay pretty much the same this year, and we will face the same issues in 2016 and beyond.

Bonus step:  Ease your mind through prayer and helping others.  You are still much more fortunate than a lot of people.  Helping out soothes your soul, and that is never a bad idea. Be at peace with yourself, and with God, and you will have the strength to cope with whatever happens.

Evacuate your Home in 10 Minutes

Evacuate your home in 10 minutes

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Recent disasters worldwide such as the Chile volcano eruption and the Nepal earthquake remind us that disasters can happen at any time.  You might think, those are far away places, they can’t possibly happen to me; however, emergencies such as chemical spills, wildfires and flooding have been known to cause localized evacuations.  Fires are not uncommon in apartment homes or condominiums, many residents may have only minutes to evacuate.  Circumstances may force you to bug out even though you don’t want to.

It’s very hard to think about, but if you had to, can you evacuate your home in 10 minutes?  If this is all the time you had what would you grab?

We had this exact discussion in our household, and we think we have a plan.  I can’t tell you what your plan should be as everyone is different – you may have more or less people in your household, of varying ages; you may have one or more pets, and have a different stage of readiness.

Here are some things to think about:

  1. Get the family together and discuss what would you do if you had to evacuate in a short amount of time.  Give each able member of your household an assigned item or area to cover.
  2. Think about the nitty gritty details such as where would you exit your home? Are your items stored within easy reach?   The old saying applies- people, pets before things.  But when it comes to that, what are your most valuable possessions?  For some people, it may be their computer, for others it could be their firearms, jewelry, or photos.
  3. Do you keep your wallet, keys, cell phone, glasses etc. in the same spot where you can easily grab them?  Or will you have to run around the house searching for them?
  4. After you exit your home, where would you go?  It depends on the circumstances.  If you live in an earthquake prone area, if there are strong aftershocks you’d want to be out in an open area, away from buildings or structures that can topple on you.  If you were bugging out due to an impending hurricane you would head out of town away from the hurricane path.  Now would be the time to map out routes out of town, and get in touch with relatives whom you can stay with.
  5. You’ll need some clothes with you, otherwise you only have the clothes on your back.  At least have a change of clothes, underwear, socks.  If you work in an office, you should have one set of work clothes in case you have to go to work in the following days.  Not all areas may be affected by the disaster, eventually, you will need to go back to work.
  6. If you have pets, plan ahead for them as well.  At the very least, you’ll need a carrier, leash, collar, food and water for them as well.  Many shelters do not allow pets – but some might.  These are all things to consider well ahead of a disaster.
  7. Don’t forget your important documents.  This is an easy project you can do in one weekend:  build your grab and go binder so you have all your documents in one place.  Even if you don’t have them all in a binder, keep all your documents together so you can easily take them on your way out.  Also keep a hard copy of your contact list in your grab and go binder, in case you happen to leave your cell phone behind, or you somehow lose it.
  8. Have a plan for your irreplaceable items such as photos, recipes, etc. Now would be a good time to back them up online or in a thumb drive.  Grab your computer if you have time especially if your livelihood depends on it.
  9. You’ll need to take cash with you in case ATMs, credit and debit cards are not working.  Keep your hidden cash in your grab and go binder or bug out bag.
  10. Lock up your home as well as you can when you leave.  You’ll hopefully be returning after the emergency has passed, and some looting goes on in the aftermath of a disaster.
  11. Review your homeowner’s or renter’s policy and be aware of your coverages.  You do have coverage don’t you?  Improve them now before a disaster happens.  Some survivalists scoff at details like this, but to me, there is a good possibility you will be returning to a damaged home or apartment so you might as well be prepared.
  12. I had mentioned clothing above – ideally, you would have a bug out bag. You may not have everything you’d ever want in it, but at least have the beginnings of one.  Each member of the family should have one.  Include special needs such as personal prescriptions, infant supplies, a child’s special comfort item such as blanket or stuffed animal.  This is a good book that’ll give you all you need to know:  Build the Perfect Bugout Bag

Of course, don’t forget to inform your loved ones when you have safely evacuated so they don’t come searching for you.  It may be stressful thinking about this now, but think how much you’ll regret not doing anything if a disaster does happen.  Make your plans now.  As we always say around here, better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.

© Apartment Prepper 2015

Monday Musings 04/27/2015 Please Help Support the Blog!

Please help support the blog
This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com


Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links about all things preparedness, as well as updates on the blog.


First the blog updates…


I have added a Donate Button     Let me preface this by saying I have been really conflicted about the decision to add a Donate button to my site.   This has never been a paid site, nor do I intend to charge in the future but expenses are starting to become a strain on me.  I had never asked for donations in the past as we had a lot more sponsors than we do now, which was enough to offset expenses at the time.  We do have a few sponsors for whom I am grateful but our hosting charges have risen with the addition of graphics and increasing bandwidth required to keep the blog up.  This blog is not an income generator for me- it started as a way for me to share my preparedness efforts while living in a city apartment and interact with readers.  That has not changed.  However, it has become harder for me to keep up with the costs of maintaining the blog and buying materials for testing and DIY articles.


If you find Apartment Prepper articles helpful, please help support the blog via our Donate Button below.  It also appears on the right sidebar.  Just click on the button and donate any amount that you feel like via PayPal.  If you feel like helping out, much obliged; if not, that is perfectly fine too.  I appreciate your readership and thanks for listening.


More blog changes coming up  I am working on getting a newsletter started for subscribers soon.  I may also be doing a blog redesign in the near future to make articles easier to view, and improve loading times.


Giveaway!  You still have time to enter our latest giveaway for the SunJack Waterproof Lightstick – a great addition to your power outage kit.


Our last giveaway for Prepper’s Financial Guide went very well and our winner, Jennifer was delighted with the book.  She wrote:


The book I won arrived yesterday. I have been absorbed in it. A really solid financial planning book with guidance for preppers. Well written, and I’m finding a lot of information new to me. I will be passing it on to my son after I finish. Definitely a must for preppers. Financial preparedness makes you ready for any future. Thank you so much!


Thank you Jennifer for checking back with us after you received the book.


Now for the links…









Take care and have a great week everyone!

© Apartment Prepper 2015